’80 arcade games-Express Raider

er27 ermach

1986

The western video game is one of those sub genres that has been around as long as video games themselves. Yet it’s certainly not as popular as space games or war games. I first saw this game at a pizza place that I only went to a few times in the mid-80’s They had two games a wrestling one with several kids playing it and this one sitting all alone by itself. I gave it a try because it was a video game and I had a quarter burning a hole in my pocket. You are a bank robber, but you will earn the money because the levels are not easy. The first level is a side scrolling fighter. You have to beat up a banker and kick some dogs just to get on the train. Once on it you are trying to get from the caboose to the engine. However each car has a guy on top who is tying to stop you by fighting and throwing junk at you. If that wasn’t mean enough there is a bomb sitting on the coupling between each car and if you can’t defeat the guy in time the bomb goes blooey, the cars unhook and you lose a turn. If you get past this level then you are on horseback in the foreground trying to shoo and defeat guys in the train car. They of course shoot back at you and you have to move your horse or duck down to avoid it. It’s fairly close quarters on this level so you have to be fast to dodge those bullets. If you beat that level then you start over with the same levels becoming more challenging. The game play is similar to another western themed game Iron Horse from Konami which also came out in 1986. For the year it came out the graphics here are quite decent. The game play on the train top level is simplistic and other games would do it better a year or two later, but for the year came out it was a little ahead of where scrolling fighting game were. The shooting level has more graphic shortcoming, but playing wise it’s still a challenge. I wish there had been more levels. This is a Data East game so you can some similarities in play to the previously released Karate Champ and later released games like Sly Spy and Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja would take what was done here and improve upon it. I had almost forgotten about this game until I played it on a collection for the Wii in recent years.

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